As much as we like to think that our beloved summer camp was special, the truth is, most camps have a lot in common. Rustic cabins, mandatory sports, bad food, campfires, that one counselor with an acoustic guitar who’s always looking for a reason to break into song . . . The demigods who attend Camp Half-Blood, however, have a truly unique camping experience.
Thalia’s Pine Tree
It’s a solitary evergreen standing at the edge of Camp Half-Blood. If you didn’t know any better you might think “Huh, odd landscaping,” but a true Camper knows that Zeus himself created this conifer to preserve the soul of his daughter Thalia Grace, who gave her life protecting Annabeth, Luke, and Grover from Hades’s monsters. Zeus also wanted to make sure no such tragedy would ever befall lost demigods again, so Thalia’s Tree serves as a protective barrier between the camp and monsters in the outside world. Think of it like homebase for incoming demigods.
The Golden Fleece
A typical camp-packing-list might include “(1) fleece” for “unseasonably chilly nights,” but at Camp Half-Blood, the only Fleece worth mentioning is one very magical artifact with amazing healing powers, spun from the golden hair of a winged ram. Somehow, it’s totally missing from the Fall/Winter 2017 Land’s End Catalog. The Golden Fleece hangs from Thalia’s Pine Tree and is guarded by the dragon, Peleus . . . another thing your camp doesn’t have.
Come to Camp Half-Blood; we have a thoroughly updated Oracle!
The Athena Parthenos
Rivalries are an essential part of camp tradition and established over decades, maybe even a century (for some really ancient camps). Now consider that the Athena Parthenos fired up Camp Half-Blood’s biggest rivalry in 447 BCE. The ancient Romans stole this forty-foot statue of the goddess of wisdom from the Parthenon of Athens, taking their beef with the Greeks to the next level. It took Annabeth and her crew installing it at Half-Blood to end the feud. Greek and Roman demigods got a massive assist from the statue’s divine power in their battle against the earth mother, Gaea.
The Cave of the Oracle
Maybe your summer camp experience involved exploring caves, or “spelunking,” which is an awesome word to use in a sentence. But did that underground group activity end with a visit to an Oracle? At Camp Half-Blood, Rachel Elizabeth Dare resides as the Oracle of Delphi, and her cave is replete with modern furnishings and throw pillows. It’s a step up from her predecessor, the animated corpse in a creepy attic, with décor best described as “severed monster heads.” Come to Camp Half-Blood; we have a thoroughly updated Oracle!
Festus the Bronze Dragon
We’ve done the research and can safely say that no other camp has an automated bronze dragon for a mascot. You may remember Festus from the cover of Heroes of Olympus Book One: The Lost Hero. Created by the Hephaestus campers, it protected Camp Half-Blood from invaders long before Peleus arrived. Because nothing at camp seems to work quite right, it malfunctioned one day and ran off into the forest. It was eventually recovered, repaired, and named Festus (Latin for happy) by its current caretaker, Leo Valdez, who brings it back to camp every now and again—usually when big trouble is brewing.